According to a study conducted last year by Search Engine Watch, 73 percent of consumers report that they lose trust in a company if they’ve searched for information about it online, only to come up with information that is incorrect or contradictory. And this can be a tough thing for businesses to avoid, considering the vast array of consumer review sites and online business listings proliferating across the web.

Almost 90 percent of consumers research online before buying products in stores. So whether you’re an e-commerce retailer or a brick-and-mortar operation, the statistics can spell doom for your brand identity unless you take steps to counteract misinformation. Sometime soon, a potential buyer might hear your company’s name for the first time, click on the wrong link, and discount your products or services before giving them a fair chance.

There are two main strategies that you need to adopt to prevent this from happening. You can use local search engine optimization services to make sure that as much traffic as possible goes directly to your website or social media accounts, where you control the flow of information. And you can assert control over other sources of information to the greatest extent possible, while also counteracting negative statements with relevant corrections.

Both of these strategies can quickly spiral into full-time jobs if undertaken by persons who aren’t trained in local small business marketing and search engine optimization. So once you’ve scanned the web for signs of erroneous information related to your company, you will surely find that it behooves you to contract with a web design and development agency that provides expert local web marketing services.

Misinformation can be spread online through business listings that use web crawlers, user submissions, or other unproven sources to generate an entry for your company. It can be removed in many cases by directing your local web marketing services provider to contact the site owners with updated or otherwise improved information, so that that business listing matches those that you’ve actively promoted in the past.

If ever this doesn’t work, the site in question is likely not legitimate or highly trafficked, and those business listings can be effectively buried by utilizing a search engine optimization services company. Push your preferred listing to the head of the pack and you can minimize the impact of an erroneous listing while your local web marketing services provider works to get rid of it altogether.

Misinformation can also be spread through dubious consumer review posts, some of which may have originated with your competitors. For this, your local web marketing services company can provide responses and corrections to most such posts in the same way that it might respond and engage with consumers on social media and via the contact form for your e-commerce website.

It should be fairly obvious that this type of management of business listings, consumer reviews, and search engine results is an ongoing struggle. It often requires constant attention from experts in web design and development, as well as local search marketing services. But the upshot to this is that once you’ve tasked a relevant company with keeping your listings and results current, it can do much more than just counteract misinformation. It can keep a close eye on your entire brand identity and shape it in the minds of your prospective customers.